Scenery, Grand Canyon
Every where at the West Rim we were greeted by friendly Indian staff who did everything they could to make our experience unique.
One Lady told us how Native Americans see lots of sketches, - people, animals etc, - on surrounding mountains and showed us a example like this one: The girl with a horse.
Fondest memory: We would have never notice this picture by our self even if it would have been crystal clear that it's the girl with a horse! :)
During the 2001 trip, I bought a postcard I especially liked because it showed a glimpse of the Colorado from an overlook. I placed the postcard on my office desk and looked at it during many a dull moment at work.
I took this picture while heading down the South Kaibab trail that first day in 2003. Looking through my photos after I returned, I experienced a sense of deja vu. I'm not the greatest photographer and I lacked the benefit of good lighting, but the picture is nearly identical to the postcard. I stepped into the photograph and became part of the scene I'd admired from afar for 2 years. It was one of those rare moments of magic where a long anticipated dream was realized, without my even realizing it.
See the world in green and blue;
See it turn around in front of you.
See the Canyon broken by clouds.
U2 Beautiful Day
Fondest memory: Not quite what I expected. It was bitter cold and, according to Jim and Dan, we'd be having three days of rain. We stopped at this point a few hundred feet down the South Kaibab trail. Jim grinned and asked if I realized how lucky we were. At that particular moment, standing at what would be a scenic viewpoint on any other day, but was completely obscured by clouds on this long anticipated one, I was having trouble figuring that out. I said as much to Jim. Still smiling, he explained that, of the millions of people who visit, we were among the few who got to stand here and watch the clouds race across the Canyon. I took a few moments and let that sink in. Jim was right. Despite the fact that it was 30 degrees, raining and we were carrying at least 50 pounds apiece, it was pure magic.
The Old Bright Angel Trail passes Indian ruins ensconsed within caves and runs along the Tonto Platform before reaching Indian Gardens. This off the beaten path route is a less crowded option than the popular Bright Angel Trail.
Fondest memory: Jim spoke of the violence which created the Grand Canyon. The powerful surging Colorado River which forced its way across and carved the rugged landscape. As Jim put it, nature can be formidable and ruthless. Nature also shows us who's really in control. Man only thinks that he is powerful. But, Jim went on to say, having an opposable thumb is not what makes one powerful. Having the force to create a deep gorge in the earth? Now, that's powerful.
Mother Nature is indeed a force to be reckoned with, and, most importantly, respected. She can be a nasty one; often unpredictable and capable of wrecking havoc on those who don't respect her. She's a patient one too and will bide her time as long as necessary. It took the Colorado River over 20 million years to carve the Canyon. That's patience and power
If you want then start to laugh.
If you must, then start to cry.
Be yourself, don't hide;
just believe in destiny.
Don't care what people say,
just follow your own way.
Don't give up and lose the chance
to return to innocence.
Enigma Return to Innocence
Fondest memory: Jim went on to explain that he's been hiking in the Canyon for 26 years now, and that its the only place where he's ever felt a sense of peace. He explained that the sense of peace comes from knowing that all of this was created before our lifetimes, that it existed before us and will continue to exist long after our brief stay on this planet draws to an end.
At one point during our trip, Jim looked around and wondered aloud, "how many more times will I be able to do this." Jim's only 49, but has had his share of health problems. To me, he was a modern day Colin Fletcher. But it appeared that the Canyon was taking a toll on him. Yet he keeps returning for that sense of peace and because he loves it. So he'll keep returning for as long as he can.
After the flood all the colors came out.
It's a beautiful day.
Don't let it get away.
U2 Beautiful Day
Fondest memory: Near the last switchback, we saw a rainbow. All morning, I kept telling Jim that the rain would let up and he would just shake his head. It never did and instead rained harder throughout our ascent. The Canyon was not letting us go without challenging us a bit more. But, as our journey neard its end, I witnessed one of my last below-the-Rim views across the Canyon. The rainbow appeared as if from nowhere, its colors stretching in a perfect arc across the land that time created. The rain didn't exactly stop. Well, it didn't stop at all, but I received my sign that the weather was breaking. Not just in the Canyon, as this trip was about more than the Canyon. But, the weather was finally breaking.
Fondest memory: Its hard to see in the picture, but the silver bridge which leads to Bright Angel Campground at the bottom of the Canyon is visible from this spot. It was pretty late in the day and the notion of stopping and dropping these heavy packs was beginning to seem like a good thing. All day, I'd been telling Jim and Dan that it would stop raining and, all day, they had disagreed, insisting it would rain continuously for three days. As we stopped for a break before the last haul over to the campground, the weather broke and the rain finally stopped. I took that as a good sign.
After camp is prepared and food is eaten and cleaned away, there's little to do. Most nights, the park rangers have a program explaining in more detail about the Canyon's history and creation, but that's been cancelled for tonight. I gives me more time to sit here and enjoy the view.
I learned a bit about toughness and patience today. To say this trip did not go as planned is the understatement of my not particularly understated life. I almost lost it up there and wanted to pack up and go home. But Jim really made it happen. He stayed positive and put me back on track when I needed it most. I'll always be greatful for that. After all, this is the trip I'd planned for so long. I'd anticipated moments of fear, discomfort, etc. I just planned on it being worth it. I believe it has been.
Heading up the Bright Angel Trail, we hiked up Devils Corkscrew, a series of steep switchbacks.
Fondest memory: Nothing prepares you for your first view of the Grand Canyon. But you must hike within her walls to truly understand her beauty and her creation. The sights defy the mere power of words and pictures do not do them justice. The sight of the Colorado patiently winding its way along the Canyon floor, the rust and green walls stretching skyward and, even the dirt covered trails, are magic. The Canyon is the process of millions of years of uplift and carving and remains a work in progress, subject to the whimsy and machinations of Mother Nature. Colin Fletcher put it best by describing hiking in the Canyon as a walk through time.
Fondest memory: Just before dinner, 4 deer walked past the campsite. This is so real. More real than anything I've ever done. Life, work, etc. is so far away right now. I think I understand why people seek out places like the Grand Canyon. I don't have all the answers yet, but my time in the Grand Canyon and on this trip is young yet. Its a long way from last call. Jim said this trip would change me forever. I believe he is right.
Sitting on a large rock outside the campground. The weather is holding up. Cold but no rain. It was humid today, according to Jim, who said estimated the humidity factor at about 30%. That's arid weather compared to where I'm from.
Fondest memory: I've loved every minute of this from the moment we first hit the trail. I needed this. Needed to get back to the center and find happiness again. Or, at least, a nice quiet moment of reflection. Just a moment ago, another deer walked by where I'm sitting. This one was so close I could have touched its silken coat. So, sitting here, surrounded by G-d's creation, I think I've found both.
The beauty of it all lies in the seeing...
If you don't see but has the ability to see, it's something I can't help you with & it is very sad for me.
If you choose not to see, that's none of my business. Everyone has a choice.
See or not see?
It's up to individuals.
I respect that in each & every one of us.
But you live outside my world...
& we can never be friends.
Fondest memory: Winter is lovely in the Canyon.
Like us... each & everyone unique in its own way.
Some we love, some we don't.
But I see more of what I love here than many places.
So, I guess this is MY sanctuary.
Find your own niche...
Sculpture it & dwell in it.
You'll find the light!
Eternity. Here, you can experience it!
Trust me... you will experience eternity here.
If you don't, keep going back until you do.
& still if you don't, don't bother talking to me.
We are not from the same world! ;-)
No, I'm the alien, not you :p
Just being here at The Grand Canyon was an awesome accomplishment.
My adventures take me where ever they will.
I don't plan to anything in particular, I just take it as it comes.
Royal Gorge, near Canon City, Colorado and the highest suspension bridge in the world!